Campbell's office center of possible criminal probe
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The Department of Justice is considering a criminal probe into the office of Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), The Denver Post reports.

Campbell's former chief of staff is accused of inflating an aide's salary in order to take a kickback. The allegation has been referred to the Senate Ethics Committee but Justice officials in Washington and Colorado are debating how a probe might occur, the paper said.

The ex-chief of staff, Ginnie Kontnik, resigned on Friday. Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) said his reaction to her departure was "Good riddance." "Let's just say he could do better," Allard told The Post.

Kontnik suggested that Campbell approved the alleged kickback arrangement. But Campbell said he is only now becoming aware of the situation. "Hell, I'm still finding out about it," he told the Associated Press.

In addition to her $129,000 annual salary, Kontnik received $57,000 in payments from Campbell's campaign account in 1998 and 1999, The Post reports. Kontnik's accuser said she rewarded herself.

"Ben's 70 years old. He doesn't like headaches," Brian Thompson told the paper. "So Ginnie keeps those headaches away from him. And she compensates herself accordingly for all the grief she has to put up to keep the headaches away."

Get the Story:
Justice Dept. weighs probe of Campbell office (The Denver Post 2/25)
Campbell aide's pay may be violation (The Denver Post 2/25)
Fees stir demand for probe (The Denver Rocky Mountain News 2/25)

Relevant Links:
Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell -

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